The Medcins Sans Frontieres (MSF) held a press conference in the United Nations to provide updates on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) from the perspective of an independent humanitarian aid organization. Mr. Groulx said that CAR is now a “fragile state with an essentially non-existent health system,” as most medical personnel have fled the country. The health crisis is exacerbated by the outbreak of malaria in rainy seasons and the fact that many with HIV have not received antiretroviral drugs for six months. The impact of such a crisis has also aggravated violence targeted against Muslim communities in CAR. A survey performed by MSF in a refugee settlement camp in Chad found out that one in three families have lost at least one family member. Mr. Groulx concluded that since he first started working in CAR in 2003, “the country has only regressed.”
Ms. Dekhili spoke about the circumstances confronting the CAR refugees in Chad and Cameroon. She said, “Some must pay to cross, or walk for hours to find passage. Others perish.” At the same time, red tapes and bureaucratic screening process mean only 13% of those made to Chad can be registered as a refugee and receive formal assistance. The lack of latrines and water points means lives of the refugees are suboptimal.
Responding to a question from the floor regarding MSF cooperation with other humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies, Mr. Groulx stated that he is aware of the setback of funding to emergency situations in some humanitarian organizations. This leads to their lack of skills in running primitive facility such as running a water filtration plant in some situations, which makes MSF’s role in some areas, including CAR, more crucial.
Meeting Title – Press conference by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on “The Central African Republic”
Speakers – Michael Godfarb, Media Relations Manager, MSF-USA; Mr. Sylvain Groulx, Head of Mission of MSF in the Central African Repubic; Dounia Dekhili, Deput Manager, Emergency Programme.
Location – Press Briefing Room, United Nations Headquarters
Date – July 24th, 2014
Summary Written By WIT Representative – Harrison Chung